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Taste of Slovakia and some Original Tunes

Taste of Slovakia and some Original Tunes

Installment 1 of AV-Club

Featuring a Taste of Slovakia with 2 Slovak folk songs
and 2 Original tunes from yours truly enjoy

Original Tune 1: I’ve got Everything to Lose

You said your Kingdom is like a pear
worth more than anything I got
And I will lay down All my Treasures
just to have a taste of what you Got

I’ve got everything to Lose
I’ve got everything to gain
and its all for you (X2)

I feel at times I’m in the desert
My soul it hungers and thirsts
You said you’re living bread and water
And I will eat and drink of you

You said I’ll have a cross to carry
You said I have burdens to bear
Sometimes I don’t really want them
and its more than I can bear

Original Tune 2: Little Bitty Love Song

Life’s a mess oh I know
I just want somebody to hold
I’m as crazy as can be
I’m lovestruck, that’s what you see

I’m hopping, hoping and moping
that you, would fall in Love with me (X2)

When you walk in my stomach’s a flutter
and my heart it melts like butter
OH babe I’m sweet on you
I’m in a sugar rush or two

Slovak Easter

Slovak Easter

Timeline of the Passion week done by slovak youth group in Vrbovce

Slovak Easter
Originally uploaded by themoltron.

Ahoj and Greetings from Slovakia.

Well here is my March Update. My March was spent mostly in preparation for Easter or Velka Noc. I was great to experience some of the very unique customs and celebrations. March was also filled with many guests and fun.

I have many more pictures available at http://flickr.com/photos/themoltron

I have continued to teach English in school. I find it one of the most challenging things I do here. I try to plan exciting and interesting lessons but every week it is a gamble. Sometimes they seem interested and other times not. As my Slovak is getting better it makes teaching more difficult because they don’t want to speak English. Despite this frustration I keep trying, they are learning probably more than I think. I have also been teaching drum lessons to several of the kids. This is also a challenge because sometimes they kids show up and sometimes they don’t. I have to remind them to come often. When they do show up I enjoy it.

The weeks leading up to Velka Noc were a fun time in youth group. We took the time to read the story of Jesus’ journey to the cross. We then made an illustrated timeline. It was amazing how many things we forget. We sometimes think we are familiar with story of Easter that we forget to remind ourselves of the details. It took us 2 weeks to read, draw and discuss the events. For me, it helped to get a better picture of the passion of Christ and just how great Christ’s love is for us. I can only hope that the youth somehow got as much out of it as I did.

Good Friday or Velky Piatok was a big service. We had about 400 people at the service. The church was packed. I sang with the choir and heard the kids’ choir sing. They had the brass ensemble perform and some people play guitar. It was fantastic. Communion is served only at larger events and significant times during the church year. It took about an hour for everyone to receive it.

The Saturday of Velka Noc, or Biela Sabotu, we had more youth than usual. Mostly from young people returning from school for the holiday. We played a quiz game about the events of the Resurrection and immediately after. With questions like, how many times did Jesus appear to his followers after his death? How many people saw Jesus Alive? The answers aren’t simple and it sparked some lively debate and thorough searching of the bible for answers. From what I have found Jesus appeared at least 5 times and he appeared to at least 20 people according to combined facts from all the gospels. Don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself.

The Monday after Easter was filled with a very unusual tradition. The tradition involves young men getting girls wet and then hitting them with green branches called a Korba?a. The girls then give the guys Chocolate and a Ribbon to be proudly displayed on the boy’s Korba?a. Basically this only process is a huge flirting ritual. I had one of the youth guys make me a Korba?a.

Flo, one of the other volunteers from Germany, was leaving early Monday morning. We waited until midnight and went to visit Zorka, who is the vicar and lives next door in our building. We knocked on her door and when she opened it, she was rather surprised. Nothing quite like being splashed with water and being hit by Korba?a and then reciting the rhyme goes with it. “Šibi ryby mastné ryby, kus kola?a od korba?a” She then gave us a ribbon with her name on it and chocolate.

After Zorka we travel to another house that at 3 young ladies living there. When the first girl answered the door we surprised her with water. She then told us to wait so she could get her sister. At the same time the mother Shouted, “Already, it’s so early, quick give me your water buckets, I’ll go fill them.” It was quite a shock to see the mother and the other girls helping us. After all the girls had gone through the ritual we were invited in for coffee and snacks and each girl gave us a ribbon for our Korba?a. Well it was early in the morning so no one else was up so, we went to bed. Later in the morning at a more reasonable hour I went around the village with some of the other young men participated in this ritual at several other houses. It was a fun day and I met many nice girls.

They also traditionally have a small service. The Pastor arranges for all the doors to be locked except for one. Then when all the ladies file out of the Church he can hit them with his Korba?a. Apparently they considered it Good Luck, and wishes for Health and Beauty in the future when they are hit by a Korba?a. With the women being treated like it is often said they boys should watch out the next day but usually nothing happens.

March was also filled with a variety of Guests. Flo’s family arrived to spend Easter weekend in Vrbovce and then go to the High Tatry. It great to meet new people and see the family of people I work so closely with. His mother father and 2 younger sisters were quite a joy. Zorka and I were invited to join in their family Easter egg hunt/walk after the Service on Easter. When Flo and his family left for the High Tatry another group of guests arrived the next day. Oli had spent his Easter in Germany with family and arrived back with his Pastor and 2 friends. They spoke decent English and Oli was able to translate well. I also have been picking up a little German too so that helped. We had some interesting conversations about life in Slovakia. They were here in Vrbovce for about 3 days before they returned. After all these big events I was feeling a little tired and wanted to return to a somewhat normal routine.

Well, what I have I learned this month? I learned how Slovak’s celebrate Easter or Velka Noc. I learned and strange tradition of hit girls with sticks the day after Velka Noc. I have also been learning about patience and catching God’s plan. Much like the Disciple’s after Good Friday, I sometimes think, “Where is God?” When I’m frustrated with working on something I see no end to or I’m teaching English with kids who really have not interest or when I have to chase to remind kids tom come to youth group or drum lessons all the time and then they don’t show up.
The disciples heard everything Jesus said but they just weren’t sure what was next. On Easter and many times after Jesus reminded them, “I’m here! I’m Alive”.

We too need to be reminded that Jesus died for our sins but he is a Living God. When the 2 women went to take care of Jesus’ body in the tomb, they met an Angel who said, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” We must ask this question to ourselves when we are frustrated or lack vision. The fact that Jesus was resurrected as he promised makes all his other promises more real. How can a dead God keep his promises? He can’t but Jesus is Alive.

I am reminding myself of God’s Grace everyday that he is working, he is living. I may not see results of my work now or even in a few months but God is there, walking with me through all my joys and frustrations.

Lord,
Thank you that we worship you, a Living God
One who keeps his Promises
Help us to remember
You are Alive and walking with us
This is not another figure of speech, it is True
You showed yourself to the Disciples
And later gave of yourself to them your Holy Spirit.
We are your Disciples too!!

In your Holy Name, a name that has power of the living and the dead
Jesus Christ

God’s Blessings and Peace be with you,
? Christ’s Servant in Slovakia

Mark Molter

Culture Shock!!! Part 1: Distraction

Culture Shock!!! Part 1: Distraction

What could it be that is shocking this man?

Shocked
Originally uploaded by liber.

As my time in Slovakia grows with every passing minute, I would like to share with you some of the things that are happening related to Culture Shock!!!
I am hoping to make this an ongoing series of entries. So I guess this would be “Culture Shock!!! Part 1”

Culture shock by definition “is the feeling of disorientation when someone is suddenly subjected to to unfamiliar culture, way of life or set if attitudes”- Oxford American Dictionary. Needless to say I am feeling a little disoriented. I have been in Slovakia for about 6 weeks. I am still getting used to the language and to life in a small village but, I am enjoying my time. There are of course times when I ask myself “Why am I here?” or “How much longer is this year going to last?”

When you are in a somewhat disorienting experience such as Culture Shock, you tend to cling to the things you are familiar and comfortable with. These for me have been Books and Television. I brought many books and several episodes of my favorite TV shows on my computer. These can be blessings when you use them occasionally and in moderation. For me though I have been finding myself going beyond moderation and into mild obsession. I don’t spend all my time reading or watching TV but, I am missing many opportunities. When I think about what I’m doing, I realize that I am not using my time to study the Slovak language or to spend time getting to know the people I am living with. I am escaping from my reality to be in a familiar one. So, I realize I have a problem. And the old saying, “The first step toward recovery is recognizing you have a problem.” is starting to ring clear in my head. It also helps that during ELCA missionary training they drove many of the culture shock symptoms into our heads.

In many ways I am distracting myself and refusing to answer the many question I have for myself. “What exactly is my mission?”, “How can I be more effective in demonstrating the Gospel when I am a fish of water?” The more I ask these questions, the more I am realize I am dependent upon God’s grace for any glimmer of an answer. I am challenged to receive the hope He gives and learn how to share it ways that seem foreign, frustrating, and without immediate results. And of course this reminds me of one of many words I am learning in Slovakia, “pomaly” or gentle/slow. Learning to do things slowly with patients and focus. What can be more true, God’s grace is an amazing gift, we sometimes distract ourselves from it because we just are not feeling it, or feel like we don’t understand it right away, or because God’s grace can seem so distant and foreign to us. We must learn to be gentle and patient in understanding God’s grace. It is something we must remind ourselves of and learn to how to live by everyday.

In the end and by God’s grace I can put down my books and turn off my computer to take the opportunities He has given.
In the words of Saint Francis “Always Preach the Gospel and if necessary use words.” It is hard to do that alone in your room.

On the brighter side of things. The more time I spend in Slovakia the more I see the similarities. I can drive down a road in the Slovak hillside and see cows in a field and it looks very similar to many fields I’ve seen in my home state of Virginia. I can teach and play with kids and realize they act the same way in any culture or language setting. It is a blessing to realize they God’s in control. Despite that fact that I’m in a different culture and far away from home God is in the details. He is in a laugh that sounds the same whether it in the US or Slovakia or in the green grass in Slovakia that looks so much look a hillside somewhere in Virginia.

So Ends Part 1…Check back later for Part 2

So here I am in Slovakia

So here I am in Slovakia

Vrbovce Church
Originally uploaded by themoltron.

Here is my lastest Newsletter for you reading Pleasure

If you are interesting in seeing pictures here is a link to my flickr page
flickr.com/photos/themoltron

Ahoj (Pronounced ahoy and it means hello)

Here is my very first newsletter from Slovakia. I want to first thank all of you for all your support with prayer and financial support. I wouldn’t be able to have this opportunity to serve the Lord without you. Please continue to pray for me and the other young adult volunteers around the world.

I have been in Slovakia for about 5 weeks now. The first week I spent in Bratislava taking care of paperwork and taking the opportunity to see many of the sites.
It was interesting being the only guy in a group of 7 girls. 3 of them were volunteers from the ELCA and other 4 were from Germany. During our stay The Slovak Parliament was open in celebration of the signing of The Slovak Constitution on Sept 3rd, 1992. It was fun seeing the pride the Slovak people have in their government as well as seeing them celebrate their culture heritage at Bratislava castle near by. We were able to see many folk dances, music and handicrafts. This first week in Slovakia was exciting and an interesting experience just seeing the immediate similarities and differences between american and slovak culture. Here are a few things I noticed that were funny or interesting:

-A Sign for Mexican Food at McDonald’s in Slovak, It struck me that Globalization is more real than I thought it was.
-Hamburgers are just not the same in Europe
-We were told the American Embassy wanted to have a huge wall built around it but, the Slovak Government wouldn’t let them.
-American Music is heard everywhere, sometimes it didn’t feel like were in Slovakia yet
-Slovak Superstar is just as funny as American Idol, if not funnier
-The Slovak crown is roughly $1 dollar for 24 crown but, prices are about the same or more expensive compared to american prices.

The next 2 weeks were in Velky Slavkov which is in middle of the country near a city called Poprad (about 3 1/2 hour train ride from Bratislava). It was a beautiful place to study Slovak with the Tatras Mountains in the background. We had time during the week to travel up to several places including a waterfall and Štrebske Pleso (Pronounced Shtrebsky Pleso) which is a large Glacial lake and has skiing in the winter. We stayed at a christian retreat center and spend 6 hours a day having Slovak lessons.

The Slovak language is more difficult than I original anticipated. I have learned some basic sentences and grammar. The grammar is difficult to grasp because every word has many different forms depending on how it is used. So, my basic grasp of Slovak is going to take awhile. I am learning to catch what people are saying despite how fast seem to speak. For the time being I will share with you some words that I have learned and maybe extreme helpful if you are in Slovakia.
Ano- Yes
Nie- No
Dobré- Good
Dobré Rano- Good Morning
Dobrý De?- Good Day
Neviem- I don’t know
Nerozumiem- I don’t understand
Neviem po Slovensky- I don’t know Slovak
Som z Americky- I am american
Som hladny- I am hungry
vlak- train
Kde je Vlak- where is the train?

So after spending that time studying slovak, I traveled by train to Vrbovce where I was greeted by Pastor Miroslav. He speaks some basic english and I can understand him ok. We arrived in the village where upon immediate arrival I was invited to an older gentleman’s 60th Birthday party in the building where I will be living. It was quite a shock. I learned Slovaks are very generous people. I got a delicious soup and then dinner. And of course wine, they kept on insisting I drink more but, I had to stop at 2 glasses. Speaking of food. Slovaks eat a lot of bread, potatoes and pork. The biggest meal of the day is Lunch and usually includes soup then the main meal. Lunch can sometime be sweet which might include sweet dumplings with cocoa on top. Breakfast consists of fresh vegetable when available and sometimes lunch meat… ok back to where I am living.

The building I am living in is the old church school building, it is beautifully decorated with gold and white and resembles an ornate castle. They have many social functions on the 1st and 2nd floors. On the 3rd floor where I am living there is an apartment where the Seminary Intern Zorka lives, she is very nice and knows a little english. There is a music studio and a spare bed room. Then we have a fitness room that leads to 2 bedrooms. 2 german volunteers from another organization are there and I have the other room. All in all it is not a bad place to stay.

Most of my time in Vrbovce has been spent doing various bits of handiwork around the church and the old school building. I spend a few days putting grout in on a sidewalk. We also pick-up lunches and deliver them to elderly members of the parish every weekday. One day a week I help with english class at the local school. I also with be giving music lessons on drums or guitar. I am learning and reminding myself I am working for the lord in every task I do, even if it is boring or apparently minor. I know the Lord wants us to please him and serve others by doing our best in everything we do. I am also hoping to learn slovak from the interaction with the kids and build some relationships through all the work that I am doing.

We have been fairly busy most sundays with traveling from one place to another so I have had few chances to attend a Slovak language church service. It is very interesting to see the similarities and differences. They general order of the service is the same from what I can understand and figure out. We share many of the same Hymn melodies. One sunday we traveled to another Church in Bukovce where they were installing a near Pastor. I met a member of a church from Bratislava there who spoke english his name was Marian. I was asking some questions about the church service I pointed out the difference in liturgical robes. Slovaks wear more Academic black robes with white lace covers from Martin Luther’s academic tradition, which I thought was interesting. That sunday they also had a women’s fellowship which was hosted in Vrbovce. This of course met there was fun and food. I was able to meet and talk to people in the little slovak I knew. One thing about living in the old school building is whenever there are social functions there are leftovers and they usually save some for the volunteers.

So that has been my first couple of weeks in Slovakia. I am doing well and living by God’s grace daily. Everyday is a learning process. Before I end my newsletter I would like share a bible verse with you.

“Whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17

As Christians we are called to be Ambassadors for Christ wherever we are, whether that be in Slovakia, teaching, playing soccer, or working in an office. We are called to live in Christ with everything we do. You may not feel called to do anything special but, all believers are called to be Christ wherever they work and play and that is a our great gift and responsibility.

God’s Peace be with You,
Mark Molter